Full Life in Christ
Key Verse: “Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF Paul’s ministry was to emphasize that there was no need for followers of Christ to look beyond what is written in the Scriptures for a source of understanding, since God had supplied everything needful for their spiritual growth and knowledge through the example and teachings of Christ Jesus.—Col. 2:3
Nevertheless, false teachers and human philosophies became prevalent amongst the believers during the development of the Early Church. Thus, Paul warned the brethren in Colossae to be vigilant lest they be contaminated by such erroneous doctrines. (vss. 6-8) In our Key Verse, he reaffirms the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ, who is above every principality and power. He is the only means through which his consecrated followers are made acceptable to God.
During the dispensational change that followed God’s acceptance of Cornelius into the body of Christ, there were repeated efforts by some Jewish believers to insist that Gentile converts to Christ accept and follow some of the practices associated with the old Law Covenant arrangement of Israel. In this epistle, however, Paul forcefully refuted any such teaching as being applicable to believers, Jew or Gentile, who had accepted Christ as the means of their salvation.—vss. 13-17
Consecrated believers presently live at a time when questions concerning the efficacy of the Mosaic Law with respect to our standing in Christ are no longer a potential snare affecting our spiritual development. Yet, the Bible abounds with exhortations for us to prove all things and hold fast to the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) The reason for this exhortation is that just as some teachers infiltrated the Early Church and introduced false doctrines, we too, living near the end of the Gospel Age, must be careful concerning the entertaining of any new teaching or theory. This lesson, given at the dawn of the Gospel Age, is preserved in holy writ for us, and we are exhorted to cling to the Biblical teachings of our Lord and the apostles—the old paths, as it were—which we have received.
In Jude 3, we are told to “earnestly contend for the faith.” This relates primarily to our personal responsibility of putting forth every effort possible to be able to have a scriptural reason for what we believe. This does not mean there will not be occasions where we will also have to speak out against errors that we may observe. Even here, however, we should speak plainly as to what the Scriptures teach, without being of a contentious spirit. We are to remember that the body of Christ is diverse. By interacting with one another where there are differences, if done in the proper spirit, there are opportunities for growth.—II Tim. 2:24,25
Finally, the words of Peter are also instructive. “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” (II Pet. 1:12) Peter, in citing “in remembrance of these things,” refers to those fruits and graces of the Spirit to be added to our foundation of faith which he enumerated earlier in verses 5-7 of this same chapter. This complete faith structure, when internalized, should have the result of crystallizing our character and assisting us in becoming a part of the body of Christ.